The Nature of Law: A Philosophical Inquiry, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Nature of Law

A Philosophical Inquiry, 1st Edition

By Stefan Sciaraffa


280 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415890021
pub: 2020-01-15
SAVE ~$8.99
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 15th January 2020

FREE Standard Shipping!


This book is an attempt to provide a philosophical answer to the simple question, "What is the law?" as well as address the various debates this question has spawned. Along the way, it develops a unique position within analytic jurisprudence by carefully distinguishing between a theory of the nature of a legal system and a theory of the nature of legal content (that is, of individual laws). Finally, it applies the framework established in the first part of the book to two substantive areas within legal theory: legal reasoning and international legal systems.

The result is a unique introduction to the philosophy of law, one that presents and tests a theory of analytic jurisprudence, while it introduces students and others to this sub-field of philosophy. It explains and clarifies for students the views of the most significant scholars in the philosophy of law—those of H.L.A. Hart, Hans Kelsen, Joseph Raz, Ronald Dworkin, and John Finnis—and offers a critique of each. This approach should appeal to all types of philosophers--students and scholars alike--who are wary of wading into the field of legal theory as well as philosophers of law who wouldn’t find useful or interesting a mere survey of the field.

Table of Contents


Part I: Methodology and the Social Facts of Law

Chapter 1: Conceptual Analysis and the Naturalist Challenge

Chapter 2: Hermeneutic Objects

Part II: Law and Morality

Chapter 3: Theories of Legal Systems

Chapter 4: Theories of Legal Content: Debates within Positivism

Chapter 5: Theories of Legal Content: Positivism, Natural Law, and Post-Positivism

Part III: Legal Reasoning

Chapter 6: The Autonomy of Legal Reasoning

Chapter 7: Constitutionalism

Part IV: International Law

Chapter 8: International Law

About the Author

Stefan Sciaraffa (Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Arizona, 2007; J.D., University of Texas, 1997) is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at McMaster University. His scholarly articles have appeared in Law and Philosophy, Legal Theory, and The European Journal of Philosophy, and forthcoming articles have been accepted for publication in UNAM and in Jurisprudence.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Natural Law
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy